Picea pungens 'Aurea' / golden Colorado spruce

Picea pungens 'Aurea' is a large, upright, tree form of Colorado spruce with golden-yellow needles that fade to to duller shade of yellow by fall. If planted in shade, needles will lack nearly all of the yellow coloration. After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 12 feet (4 m) tall, and 2-thirds as wide, an annual growth rate of around 12 inches (30 cm)

Adrian Bloom gives a good comparative description of the golden Colorado Spruces in his book Gardening With Conifers. He states,

Selections with both golden-yellow growth and needles are P. pungens 'Aurea' with its best color in winter; P. pungens 'Lutea', deeper yellow, with gold on the needles only if exposed to light, and the compact P. pungens 'Stanley Gold', with a good year-round color. Many of these golden and variegated selections are rather prone to spring frost damage and sun scorch so they are not always satisfactory garden plants, but this should not put off keener gardeners. All need good light but shelter from early morning sun."

I will add that the picture attached below shows a specimen in the Chicago Botanical Garden. The picture was taken on a day in July in 1999 when the temperature was about 107°F. The tree stood out from all of the surrounding plants clearly as a yellow-green plant. It did not seem to suffer at all from direct sunlight. It is not unusual for larger plants to better withstand sun burn in the summer. Often the color of larger plants is also less aureous than young plants.

This cultivar originated as a seedling selected around 1905 by W.F. Niemetz Nursery, Temesvár Hungary, now Timișoara, Romania.

This picture is of a mature tree. The picture was taken in 1999 on a day in July when the temperature was about 107°F. The tree is in the Chicago Botanical Gardens, Illinois.
Photo by Ken Church
Picea pungens 'Aurea' — photo record donated by Richard and Susan Eyre.
Photo by Rich's Foxwillow Pines Nursery, Inc
Picea pungens 'Aurea' — a young specimen growing in Bickelhaupt Arboretum, Clinton, Iowa in the Heartland Collection of Garden Conifers, March 2004. The second leader to the right should be removed.
Photo by Dax Herbst

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